PREVIOUS WINES OF THE WEEK - first six months of 2010
WINE OF THE WEEK 11th Jan 2010

Clairault Estate Cabernet Suavignon 2005 18.00 Marks and Spencer - Drinker rating 86

Today is my birthday. I am 40 years old. Hoo-bloody-ray. As such we need a big grown up serious wine, for my 40s will be my serious years. I am turning over a new leaf and casting of the frivolities of youth. Drink this big, mature, complex wine and wish me many happy returns.
WINE OF THE WEEK 18th Jan 2010

Domaine Maillard Pere et Fils 2007 Chorley les Beaunne Drinker rating 87
Waitrose 14.99

Yes, I am aware that this is a bit on the pricey side, yes, I know you've had an expensive Christmas and that it's been ages since pay day and that there's a recession on. But listen, this year you said that you'd cut down on the booze so why not buy this one bottle of very very good Burgundy rather than the 3 for a tenner rubbish that you usually swig down of a weekend? Trust me it's elegant and complex, fruity and gamey with a long and pleasing finish. Go for it.
WINE OF THE WEEK 25th Jan 2010

Andaluna Anduco Cabernet Sauvignon
Virgin Wines 6.99
Drinker rating 83

Now here's a top value wine. It's from the good people at Virgin Wines who know a thing or two about Argentina. This is packed with blackcurrant, vanilla and pepper but still approachable, modern and easy to drink.  
2009 Wines of the Week
WINE OF THE WEEK 1st Feb 2010

Tesco finest Crozes Hermitage 2006 6.49
Drinker rating 81

Just coming into life. Enough rich ripe cherry and raspberry flavours along with hints of leather on the nose. Rally good soft tannins, full body with sweet spice and black pepper. Drinking well now will develop for another year. May be a buyer for next Christmas.
WINE OF THE WEEK 8th Feb 2010

Bluff Hill Rosé 8.99 Marks and Spencer
Drinker rating 83

This is my one concession to the dreadful, tacky, pointless nonsense that is Valentines Day. If you really must indulge in such lunacy and you are old enough to buy wine you should be ashamed of yourselves. But if you really must buy something 'romantic' then you can do worse than this, it's fizzy so it implies celebration and seduction, it's pink so it fits in with the current colour theme and it's actually delicious.  
WINE OF THE WEEK 15th Feb 2010

The Society's Chilean Sauvignon Blanc
5.95 The Wine Society
Drinker rating 84

This is a real bargain, it does everything that sauvignon blanc should do, full of gooseberry and elderflower fruit, yet light and refreshing, good acidity but not overdone and green or stalky like some of the new world varieties. Get onto this now before they realise they've made a mistake and put the price up. This is a real candidate to be my house wine this spring.  
WINE OF THE WEEK 22nd Feb 2010

La Consulta Reserve Pinot Noir, Argentina
8.99 Morrisons
Drinker rating 82

I love the diversity of pinot noir and this little beauty shows how it can be when young, fresh and fruity. It doesn't have the gamey, mushroom or leather of a grown up Burgundy, but it has bags of red friut, raspberry, redcurrant and some nice balancing tannin which gives good structure.

WINE OF THE WEEK 1st March 2010

Valpolicella Alegrini 2008
8.50 The Wine Society
Drinker rating 82

I really like this wine, Valpolicella got a pretty poor name for itself (and rightly so as over production led to a drop in standards) but this is a beauty. Well structured and deep in red fruit character. The wine is from the Valpolicella Classico region, although they're not allowed to use the word classico as it is bottled with a screw-cap - how strange.
WINE OF THE WEEK 8th March 2010

Gran Conti Biferno Riserva 2005
Tesco 4.99
Drinker rating 80

Sometimes you're just after a Wednesday night wine, a good quality, affordable quaffer. This is just the ticket. Well made with big bold flavours of bramble and vanilla. It has a lush mouthfeel provided by a generous proportion of ripe Aglianico. Good stuff at what now appears to be the going rate for a half decent bottle.
WINE OF THE WEEK 22nd March 2010

Dr L Riesling
Generally available 6 to 8
Drinker rating 81

Riesling is always promising to be the next big thing and never quite manages it. This wine is doubly challenging to the modern British palate as it's off dry. But do give it a go as it's really refreshing, the kind of wine you could drink on a spring day outdoors. Low in alcohol (8.5%) and full of zingy lime and floral aromatics.

Top stuff

Drink up.

WINE OF THE WEEK 29th March 2010

Taste the Difference Beajolais Villages
Sainsbury 7.49
Drinker rating 83

I always think that the ripe berry flavours of Beaujolais suit the springtime weather. This is a medium bodied red with cherry, and raspberry notes, a little tannin that gives structure perfect for a spring afternoon. I often get a flavour of bubblegum from the Gamay grape, which shouldn't be off putting, this is just right.

WINE OF THE WEEK 5th April 2010

Sabina Tempranillo 2008
The Wine Society 4.75
Drinker rating 84

Tempranillo is one of the key grapes they use to make Rioja, This wine comes from Navarra just next door in Northern Spain. This is medium bodied and deeply coloured with really good fruit concentration. Great value, this is a real Wednesday night wine.
WINE OF THE WEEK 12th April 2010

Ken Forrester Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2008
Majestic 8.69 (6.49 each when you buy two)
Drinker rating 86

This is a really well developed and complex wine. Showing good chenin character of honey and apple it has layers of spice and vanilla. Really good on it's own but will work well with full flavoured food. Top value for money.

Drink up.
WINE OF THE WEEK 19th April 2010

Altos Del Condor Sauvignon Gris 2009
Marks and Spencer 6.99
Drinker rating 85

Sometimes we wine tasters use unfortunate descriptions, I remember getting very funny looks at a dinner party because I said the wine had hints of leather and farmyard, but I meant this as a compliment. Oops. Having just looked at my tasting notes from the M and S Spring Press Tasting, I described the sauvignon blanc elements of this wine as 'big, full, wet the bed elderflower'. That sounds just terrible. I really don't mean it. This is great value at 6.99, well balanced, full and complex. Sorry for the description.
WINE OF THE WEEK 26th April 2010

The Society's Exhibition Rioja Reserva 2002 The Wine Society 12.95
Drinker rating 91

This is the first Wine of the Week that I have graded in the 90s for some time. It is a bit on the pricey side but I'd say worth every penny. For me Rioja is very hit and miss, but the Wine Society have hit the mark just right here, a cherry and cedar nose with hints of tobacco, it has soft, well integrated tannins and is warm and generous on the finish.

This is really one of those where you get what you pay for. Give this to your host at a dinner party and they'll lap it up. 
WINE OF THE WEEK 3rd May 2010

Chapel Down Brut NV
Selected Waitrose (and others) 16.14
Drinker rating 86

This award winning sparkler is the proof that we can make world class wines in England. I'm an enormous sceptic about the quality of many of our wines but at the recent English Wine Producers Tasting I was won over by some of the top notch fizz on show.

This has a beautiful apple nose and is soft and supple in the mouth.

Other good producers worth looking for include Nyetimber, Ridgeview and the Bolney Wine Estate. They all sell direct and Waitrose stock a good number of English wines. 
WINE OF THE WEEK 10th May 2010

Macon Lugny 2008 Louis Latour
Majestic Waitrose 8.99 (7.99 each for two)
Drinker rating 84

This is a classic white Burgundy at a great price. Full appley and lime zest from 100% chardonnay, refreshing acidity and a long and complex buttery finish.

This is a real contender to be my house white for the summer.

WINE OF THE WEEK 17th May 2010

The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2007
Majestic 8.69 (6.95 each for two)
Drinker rating 83

To celebrate a England's terrific victory over the Aussies in the World Twenty20 Cricket Final here's a big brute of an Australian red. It has real intensity, ripe black berries and good supporting tannin. There is also some complexity on the nose with hints of menthol and stuffed vine leaves.

I bet this is the kind of thing that Ryan Sidebottom drinks at home. Well done lads.
WINE OF THE WEEK 24th May 2010

Ara Pathway Pinot Noir
Morrisons 9.99
Drinker rating 84

I love pinot noir like this. A balance of good forward fruit, ripe plum and cherry, with a little leathery complexity. This is mouth watering stuff, ripe, full and elegant and at a top price.

The New Zealanders are beggining to get it now, less is more - less primary fruit in the pinot noir and less overdone stalky elderflower in the sauvignon blanc. Well done you kiwis.
WINE OF THE WEEK 31st May 2010

Asda Vin De Pays D'Oc Marsanne 2009
Asda 3.98
Drinker rating 83

It's a toss up between this and next week's Wine of the Week as to which will be my House White this summer. Surely I can't be the only person in the world who has house wines?

This is tremendous value, a relatively simple wine, but really well made and with good unripe peach and zesty lime flavour. Fantastic for sitting out in the garden, will compliment, rather than dominate light summer food and is an absolute steal at under four quid. Buy it by the case, well worth it.
WINE OF THE WEEK 7th June 2010

Eva's Vineyard Chenin Blanc/Pinot Grigio/Kiralyleanyka
Waitrose 3.99
Drinker rating 86

'Yes, yes, yes' read my notes at the Waitrose press tasting after sampling this smashing little wine. Hints of orange blossom and honeysuckle, yet dry and refreshing. This is a real find and a steal at under four quid.

Not a great deal is written about Hungarian wines - with the exception of the deliciously sweet Tockay, but there seems to be a groundswell of good new wine makers using modern techniques to produce real value for money wines like this.

I cannot speak highly enough of this wine other than to say it is my House White this summer.
WINE OF THE WEEK 14th June 2010

San Leo Prosecco NV
Waitrose 7.99 (25% off wine until 16th June)
Drinker rating 86

I really go for wines like this, it's a beautiful salmon pink fizz, lovely light fruity nose and bubbles that last and last. In fact the persistence of the mousse (as it's known in the trade) is a sign of quality and makes this a perfect sparkler for a wedding reception, garden party or summer celebration.

The bubbles are very soft in the mouth and it has a touch of light raspberry about it. I think this is an absolute cracker and at under 6 a bottle (with this week's Waitrose discount) is fantastic value. Stock up now.
WINE OF THE WEEK 21st June 2010

Nederburg FIFA Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Morrisons 6.99
Drinker rating 86

Just to be topical here's a FIFA wine to celebrate the World Cup. If you, like me thought that FIFA were just responsible for running world football then you'll be amazed that they (through Nederburg winery in South Africa) also produce an excellent range of wines.

This is a bold Cabernet Sauvignon, rich bramble fruits, complex on the palate and a really good price for such a good wine. It's a pity the South Africans are on the verge of going out of the tournament, but at least they can console themselves in a good bottle of red.
Latest Wines of the Week
WINE OF THE WEEK 28th June 2010

Saint Romain 2008, Labouré-Roi
Majestic 9.99 - 8.99 if you buy two
Drinker rating 87

This was my wine of the day at a recent Majestic tasting. Full, elegant, complex. A beautiful apple blossom nose with hints of lime zest. It has real character in the mouth, citrus notes and a smooth buttery backbone.

This is really terrific value for a white Burgundy from the Côte d'Or, if I was a bit richer it would be my summer house white. At 8.99 when you  buy two it's a real bargain.